Grandpa's taking all the grandkids to the neatest amusement park ever: Safari Park. All the Jungle King rides cost 4 tickets. Rhino Rides are just two tickets. Monkey Games and Tiger Treats are a bargain at one ticket each. But a ride on the "spectacular, amazing, heart-pounding Terrible Tarantula" costs six tickets! Each of the kids has 20 tickets and has to figure out the best combination to have the most fun. Which would you choose? An essential part of early algebraic thinking is understanding a "number sentence" with a missing element (8 + ? = 20), and the process for figuring out the unknown. Illustrated by Steve Björkman.
Before reading the story, give your child or each of your students 20 pieces of paper to use as tickets. Work with them to solve each number sentence, solving for the unknown using the tickets to help work out the problem.
Look at the large sign showing all the rides and the number of tickets needed for each. Have your child or students think of several different ways to use the 20 tickets. Write a number sentence for each one. Do the same thing using 15 tickets, 18 tickets, or 10 tickets.
Think of a number and offer a clue, such as "8 plus this number equals 12." When your child or one of your students gets the answer, he or she thinks of a number and offers a clue for the next round.
Using dinosaur trading cards as a theme, Murphy explores the concept of equivalent values. Mike and his brother, Andy, go to a trading fair in hopes of finding a Tyrannosaurus rex card. By making various trades they are successful in getting the coveted item. The story contains just the right amount of tension as well as tidbits of dinosaur facts interspersed among the math concepts. Colorful pictures of enthusiastic traders in dinosaur masks and hats add interest. A concluding page gives suggestions of various math activities that correlate with the book. Teachers and students alike will find this one a winner.
—Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX
Used with permission of School Library Journal. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the MathStart series, this story begins with Grandpa taking his five grandchildren to the opening of Safari Park. Though each child starts out with 20 free tickets for rides, Paul promptly loses his. Grandpa decrees that each cousin must take Paul on a ride, which might take 2, 4, or 6 tickets. Other treats, such as food and games, cost 1 ticket. As they go through the day, intense mathematical calculations ensue as the kids figure out what they have spent, how much is left, and how they can spend it. The math is worked out visually on the pages, illustrated by lively, colorful ink-and-wash drawings. Younger children may enjoy this picture book as one of the few taking place at an amusement park; older students are more likely to take on the mathematical challenges presented. As Murphy notes in the two appended pages of complementary activities and suggested reading, this book offers experience in finding a missing element, "an important step in the development of algebraic thinking."
—Carolyn Phelan, 2/1/02
Used with permission from Booklist. Copyright ¬© 2002 American Library Association. All rights reserved.
Murphy's introductory math concept endeavor is tailor-made for the picture book format. In this case readers are asked to find the unknown element in a number sentence, which works along the lines of a simple algebraic equation. Murphy frames his story as a trip to the amusement park in which one of the kids loses his tickets and the other four must donate some of theirs to him. Each kid has 20 tickets and all the rides require a different number of tickets, so the kids have to add up the tickets required for their rides, then add or subtract from 20, meanwhile figuring in the ride they are donating to the ticket-loser. For example, if Alicia wants to take 5 Rhino Rides at 2 tickets each, plus a couple of Monkey Games at a ticket apiece, what unknown number does she need to make 20? As the numbers are relatively small, this can be carried out in the reader's head (nor does it hurt thatMurphy's explanations are crystal clear). The rides look like they could be a lot of fun too, as depicted in Bjorkman's whirling,caricaturish artwork.Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews. Copyright ¬©2002, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
All images on this website are copyright protected.
Text copyright © 2003 Stuart J. Murphy,
unless otherwise noted. MathStart ® is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Publishers.